2.2.22 – The Regroup: Bruce there it is!

Aaron Wilbur

I’m a husband, father, sports nut, entrepreneur and grateful to call Vancouver home. I enjoy cooking, watching live music and hiking the North Shore mountains with my family. My son is a football player, which has turned me into a big football fan. It’s helped me appreciate what hockey parents go through, especially those who have little experience with the sport, when trying to navigate their child up the hockey ladder.

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A look at some of the best content out there from this past week, round up by The Coaches Site founder Aaron Wilbur.

I feel like you’re going to be a better coach for reading this edition of The Regroup.

And if you really want to become a better coach, you’ll tune into the second annual Global Skills Showcase, presented by our pals at Verbero.

The event features 10 of the top skill coaches in the world, selected from a very competitive field of applicants, all sharing their trade secrets for player development.

Six countries will be represented and we’re expecting over 5,000 coaches to tune in.

Learn more about the selected coaches HERE.

…also it’s exclusively for members of The Coaches Site 🙂

– Aaron Wilbur, Founder of The Coaches Site




“Bruce, congrats on 1,000. Think about how many pre-game meals that is for you. That’s a lot of spaghetti and bolognese.” – Kevin Bieksa

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

In all fairness I don’t expect there were a lot of dry eyes at Rogers Arena when they played this video on the jumbotron to commemorate Bruce Boudreau coaching in his 1,000 NHL game.

What an accomplishment. I would have to think that having your former players thank you for everything you did for them and their careers has got to feel pretty good.

Quick recap on Bruce’s career:

  • He began his professional playing career in 1975 with the Johnston Jets.
  • His 17-year playing career included scoring 28 goals in 141 NHL games (not too shabby).
  • In 1999 he won an ECHL Championship with the Mississippi Sea Wolves.
  • He followed that up with the AHL Championship with the Hershey Bears in 2006.
  • He won the Jack Adams with the Washington Capitals during the 2007-2008, his first as an NHL Head Coach, despite not joining the team until the 22nd game of the season.

Cheers to you Bruce!!




“Have a clear message. Keep it (video presentations) short. And overall keep it positive.” – Theresa Feaster

I really enjoyed my conversation with Theresa Feaster. Her story resembles so many of the coaches we interview on the show in that her career was rooted in putting her hand up and asking what she could do to help the team win.

Sometimes I suspect young coaches want to fast forward their careers to the part where they get to give a “this is your time” speech.

The reality is that what goes on behind the scenes in the coach’s office is work. Long hours filled with detailed, repetitive work. When coaches talk affectionately about the “grind,” that’s often what they’re referring to.

Theresa has been grinding away on Coach Nate Leeman’s staff at Providence College since 2012. Her work ethic, attention to detail and assurance that players have user friendly access to personalized video has led to her being added to his staff, which led Team USA to Gold at the 2021 World Junior Championship.

This is a great listen and provides valuable insights to young coaches looking to break into the coaching biz.




​​“After recent tests and scans, my doctors have given me clearance to return to my full-time duties with the team, and my prognosis is very good.” – Manny Viveiros

Some great news out of the AHL.

Manny Viveiros, Head Coach of the Henderson Silver Knights, affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights, is back behind the bench after being diagnosed with prostate cancer back in October. He had surgery in December and has been given the green light to return for the second half of the season.

I’m sure I echo the sentiment of the entire coaching community when I say “Welcome back Manny!”




“He’s the best. That’s all there is to it. Guy would do anything for the players who played for him.” – Daniel Carr

I don’t have any first hand knowledge of what led to Rick Bennet stepping down as Union’s Head Coach. I don’t know Rick personally. I do recall that he had spent the past 17 years at Union and led the program to two Frozen Fours and its first NCAA National Championship in 2014. Because I Googled him.

To be clear, winning and on-ice success aren’t an excuse for mistreating players, if in fact that’s what Rick is being accused of.

Look, it’s unreasonable to think any coach is going to make every player happy. Also, I think we can all appreciate that the game has evolved and requires coaches to change their approach. There is no question that behaviour which was accepted not too long ago wouldn’t be tolerated today. And for good reason.

It’s a slippery slope. I know a lot of coaches (including myself) who would take back some of their past actions if they could. But we can’t. We can only learn from them and evolve.

We’re all trying to navigate our way through this and get better. I just hope that in these circumstances, coaches are getting some acknowledgement for the positive ways they’ve impacted players.




“Let’s try and give you some ideas, hopefully some tips or hints. So we can be even better in this part of the ice and create more offence.” – Brennan Sonne

First off, can we give it up for Brennan Sonne’s mustache.

Seriously, what a work of art.

If they ever do a reboot of Magnum P.I. look no further than Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for your leading man.

Speaking of private investigators, Brennan did some digging and uncovered some great data that points to where goals come from. Both in terms of location and method of directing it towards the net.

Not surprisingly, it’s 20 feet in front of the net and knowing how to tip and deflect the puck is an asset.

This is an incredibly detailed presentation that clearly articulates how and why you need to be able to play in the net front to score. I’ve heard from a lot of coaches who shared the presentation with their entire team to help sell them on the importance of going hard to the net.

A timely reminder as many of you are getting prepared for the playoffs.




“No detail goes un-diagnosed. There is nothing about his efforts and drive that he leaves to chance. It’s just the way Eric is. If there’s a coach in the area who does seething unique, he seeks him out. Whether it’s basketball or another sport. He’s always trying to get better.” – Ron Culp

If this is your first time being introduced to Eric Spoelstra, you’re welcome in advance.

The 51-year-old has led the Miami Heat to two NBA Championships (2012 & 2013) and been the club’s Head Coach since 2008. However, what many may not realize is that he’s actually been on the Heat’s coaching staff since 1997, getting his break as the team’s video coordinator. 

How do you explain his journey from cutting up tape to becoming one of the most respected coaches in the NBA, if not all of professional sports? As his current boss and man who appointed him his successor, Pat Riley explains it: “he’s a man who was born to coach.”

Recently, Spoelstra popped in to visit the University of Michigan basketball team, where former member of his Miami staff and Wolverine legend Juwan Howard is the Head Coach. This speech he gave to the players post-game speaks to his selflessness and modesty.




“The varied and more challenging practice demands more brain power and encodes the learning in a more flexible representation that can be applied more broadly.” – Peter Brown

Likely my favourite part about coaching, or at least the part I find most fascinating, is that if you gave 100 coaches 60 minutes of ice to work with and asked them to draw up a practice plan to teach a specific tactic or skill, the likely result would be 100 different practice plans.

And none of them would be wrong. However, some would be more effective. But the impact one 60 minute practice has on an athlete’s development is a really tough thing to measure.

We’ve all heard about the importance of designing practices that don’t include a lot of standing around for the players and which emphasizes repetition. Makes sense. Doing something more often (practicing it) would enable you to master the skill more effectively.

However, according to John O’Sullivan, author of Every Moment Matters: How the World’s Best Coaches Inspire Their Athletes and Build Championship Teams, repetition is only one step in the learning process. Enhanced learning or skill acquisition takes place when there is an element of increased challenge and/or problem solving weaved into the drill or practice plan.




“Ah, I was so pissed. And Sean is a hard guy to get mad at because he is Boy Wonder and the guy has only messed up a few times in his life probably until this point.” -Kyle Shanahan

Coaches are people too. While they all have a crafted persona they display during interviews or post-game press conferences, that likely isn’t the personality you would encounter behind closed doors.

Coaches have friends. They joke around. They chirp.

Case in point: The Flying Coach podcast. Possibly the greatest bi-product of the Covid 19 pandemic. I don’t know what you did during lockdown, but I listened to every episode from both seasons.

The inaugural season featured Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks interviewing some of sports most notable coaching icons and touching on many of the most pressing social issues of our time.

Season 2 took a different spin and featured Sean McVay of the LA Rams and Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football interviewing several of Sean’s best buddies, who also happen to be some of the top coaching talent in football.

Imagine the conversations you have when you get together with your best pals. Now imagine you recorded them. That’s season 2 of the Flying Coach podcast and it’s pretty awesome (IMO).

This episode features Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers. If you follow football you know that Sean a) used to work under Kyle AND b) just beat him in the NFC Championship game this past Sunday.

That made re-listening to this conversation even more entertaining.



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